The behavior and various controls of diurnal variability in tropical-subtropical rainfall are investigated using Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) precipitation measurements retrieved from: (1) TRMM Microwave Imager (TMI), (2) Precipitation Radar (PR), and (3) TMI/PR Combined, standard level 2 algorithms for the 1998 annual cycle. Results show that the diurnal variability characteristics of precipitation are consistent for all three algorithms, providing assurance that TRMM retrievals are providing consistent estimates of rainfall variability. As anticipated, most ocean areas exhibit more rainfall at night, while over most land areas rainfall peaks during daytime ,however, various important exceptions are found. The dominant feature of the oceanic diurnal cycle is a rainfall maximum in late-evening/early-morning (LE-EM) hours, while over land the dominant maximum occurs in the mid- to late-afternoon (MLA). In conjunction with these maxima are pronounced seasonal variations of the diurnal amplitudes. Amplitude analysis shows that the diurnal pattern and its seasonal evolution are closely related to the rainfall accumulation pattern and its seasonal evolution. In addition, the horizontal distribution of diurnal variability indicates that for oceanic rainfall there is a secondary MLA maximum, co-existing with the LE-EM maximum, at latitudes dominated by large scale convergence and deep convection. Analogously, there is a preponderance for an LE-EM maximum over land, co-existing with the stronger MLA maximum, although it is not evident that this secondary continental feature is closely associated with the large scale circulation. The ocean results clearly indicate that rainfall diurnal variability associated with large scale convection is an integral part of the atmospheric general circulation.